The first Barn Dance in Perth was in 2019 and was a huge success and has been a favourite on the queer calendar ever since. This year it's going to be even bigger and better with some new surprises all weekend long.
We asked the creator, Adrian Tilby, about his inspiration for starting Barn Dance Perth and what we can expect this year.
What inspired you to organise the yearly Barn Dance in Perth?
The inspiration actually comes from when I lived in Canberra, a group called Pink Tennis hold an annual bushdance which I totally fell in love with. The event is fun, friendly, lively, entertaining and it brings such a diverse group of people together to dance and socialise with each other.
I always wanted to do something similar in Perth, an event about community that was affordable, accessible and fun. So, together with Michael Della Maddalena from Pride WA, we asked a number of local LGBTQI+ groups in Perth if they would like to be involved and they all jumped on board. The community response blew our minds with 500 people attending the inaugural Barn Dance in August 2019 and subsequently in August 2020. We have a great talented committee full of volunteers that allow us to make the event a possibility – a big shout out to Jonathan, Manuao, David and Shaun.
What new things do we have to look forward to this year?
The Friday night before Barn Dance (August, 20) we will be hosting a movie in the barn and will be showing 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas'. This is a fun musical comedy starring Dolly Parton as the whorehouse madam – Miss Mona and Burt Reynolds as her lover and the local sheriff. What follows is a musical escapade about love, society’s expectations, raunchy one liners and, of course, Dolly’s bosoms.
We're also showing the short Australian film, Sparkles. It's about a 30-something-year-old woman with down syndrome who leaves home and makes an unlikely friendship with a drag queen.
This will be a social movie showing. There will be a number of long tables – people are welcome to BYO food or grab a hot dog or popcorn from the Bar. For those wanting something a little more comfortable there will be bean bags and couches available for an extra charge. This will be a smaller, intimate evening and tickets are limited to 100 people. For more information and to book go here.
On the Saturday night we will of course have the famous Mucky Duck Bush Band and BarbieQ returning. As for new things this year, we will have some pop tunes from DJ H Sailor playing out of the Art Room and queer country singer Kyle Dessent roving around.
Images from Barn Dance Perth 2020
What do you think the key is to making an event like the Barn Dance work so well in Perth?
There are a number of things, one is doing it for the benefit of the community, the organisers are huge advocates for social inclusion and making the events accessible to the whole community. Barn Dance is not aimed at being a fundraiser, in fact it is run purely to celebrate our diverse community, which is why the ticket prices are so low.
However, in the past few years we have made a small profit and made donations to a number of LGBTQI+ groups across Perth, including in 2020 donating $6000 to GRAI (GLBTI Rights in Ageing) for an elder’s wellbeing program known as Q-connect, that is currently running in Victoria Park. You can hear and read more about the program here.
Any other highlights or fun information you’d like to add?
This year the Western Australian AIDS Council (WAAC) will be helping out once again as COVID Safe / safe sex marshals. They will also be promoting their new social enterprise ‘Waste 4 WAAC’ as part of the Containers for Change initiative. With the help of their logistics partner Ability WA, they will be collecting eligible containers to support people living with a disability all while helping WAAC continue their fight against stigma and discrimination. So, on the night, don’t forget to hand your cans to the team, put it in one of the marked bins.
Are you involved in any other LGBTQI+ Events in Perth that we should look out for?
Yes, we are running a Fabulous Christmas in July on July, 24 at Vic Park Connect.
This will be an evening of games, music and entertainment the cost is $5 .50 and there are a few tickets remaining more details can be found here.
Just for fun, what would you recommend for anyone new to Perth, that they must see or do here?
That’s a hard one as there are so many great things in Perth so here are my top three:
- The first would be, as I am so food motivated and a Vic Park local, is the Albany highway restaurant strip is worth checking out, so many delicious and affordable places to choose from.
- The second thing I love about Perth is that you can see kangaroos for free just outside of the CBD on Heirisson Island – I always make sure to take international friends there (so haven’t been down there for a while!)
- The third would be heading across to Rottnest Island and taking in the sights.
Adrian says: “Being out for 20 years, I love how much the community has grown. There is so much variety and literally something out there for everyone.”